A woman claims that she was denied a haircut at a barbershop because of her gender.

Erica Croft wears a close clipper haircut, and prefers the expertise of a barber for her hair because of their specialty with clippers.

“I, as a licensed hairstylist, don’t use the clipper as much,” she said. “It’s a very specialized skill and a very specialized tool.”

But when she entered the barbershop, she says she was denied service.

She became upset and began considering her legal options.

Joe Cignelli is a barber at G&T Barbershop, a popular place for haircuts in Waterloo Town Square.

He says he did politely refuse to cut her hair, but says it’s because he doesn’t feel comfortable dealing with female customers.

“Unfortunately, the way life is today, you’ve got to be careful of so many things,” he said. “Maybe I’m going to touch this person, this lady, in way that would be inappropriate to her.”

He said he was sorry if he offended her, but says that G&T is like a men’s club.

Cignelli says he has refused men haircuts before as well if he did not feel skilled enough to deliver the haircut they wanted.

According to lawyer Cherolyn Knapp, it is against the human rights code to deny someone services because of their sex or gender.

“It’s a breach of the human rights code to deny services to somebody, that might include barbering services or other types of service, on the basis of gender or sex,” she said.

Croft said that after she was clear about the haircut that she wanted, she wishes that Cignelli had just tried cutting her hair.

She plans on filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

With reporting from Tyler Calver and Emma Ens.